Splish Splash: 3 Pet Swimming Safety Tips
By: Liam Crowe
Bark Busters CEO and Master Trainer
Keeping your dog cool during the summer months is extremely important. Not only do dogs need to drink lots of water to keep cool— many dogs like to swim as well! Swimming is great exercise and will help to keep your dog from overheating; however, it is important to know that many dogs drown each year from pool accidents that could have been avoided. Read the following safety and training tips before you let Fido start working on his doggie paddle:
1. Teach Your Dog a Few Swimming Basics
Before allowing your dog free access to a pool, make sure he knows how to get out safely. If a dog falls into a river or lake, his instinct will tell him to turn around and try to get out where he fell in. This may work well in a natural body of water, but in a suburban swimming pool, dogs may drown if they adopt this instinctive action. Therefore, it is important to teach your dog where and how to get out of the pool, regardless of where he went in.
To teach your dog how to exit a pool, attach a long leash to his collar. Gently place your dog into the pool from the steps. He will instinctively turn around and get out from the point of entry—the steps. Repeat this several times. Once your dog realizes he can scramble out via the steps, move to the other sides of the pool and again gently place him into the pool. Use the recall leash to guide him to the step area, giving as little help as possible.
The danger of your dog drowning will be greatly reduced once he has oriented himself to the steps in relation to the house and understands how to use the steps to exit the pool. Practice as much as possible with your dog, but make certain he doesn’t become exhausted. The most you will be able to achieve at any one time is three or four entries and exits.
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2. Keep an Eye on That Canine It is also important for you to keep an eye on your dog while in the pool—swimming can be very tiring for a dog! Just like many dogs will chase a Frisbee again and again until they nearly collapse, some dogs will continue swimming without realizing how tired they are. And unlike chasing a ball on land, they have no solid ground on which to rest.
3. Consider Pet Insurance and Watch That Water Level
Because accidents can happen at any time, it’s always a good idea to have a pet insurance plan in place for your four-legged swimmer! Dog insurance may help offer piece of mind to pet owners. If any of your pets has year-round access to the pool area, you should conduct pool safety in all weather, hot and cold. Try to keep the pool’s water level as full as possible, as your pet has a much greater chance of being able to get out the closer the water level is to dry land.
With a little planning and forethought, you can help your dog swim without incident in most any environment during the hot summer months!
For more information about pet health or to learn more about animal insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.